Pulled the trail cam chip today and have Mountain Lion pics on three separate days. The two first days look bigger to me like a male. The last sequence on the day before Christmas is a great sequence of a female. The camera captures her marking the trail.
Have enjoyed her poetry and short story readings. Requested my favorite H.P. Lovecraft short story ‘X Oblivione’ and she did it. So love this one. It’s really more a long poem.
After many years accumulating points in California and yet remaining one less than maximum, I finally found a good hunt where my points might work in my favor. The M5 late-season East Mount Lassen muzzleloader hunt is only 5 tags in the whole X5b zone. In 2017 only 2 people with max points applied. This put my odds up to about 200:1 for a great hunting opportunity. I didn’t draw the tag in 2018 but did this year.
I had talked with Josh Schulgen of Kika Worldwide Outfitters back when I drew my sheep tag. I had already booked with Dry Creek but enjoyed talking with him and we got to talking about using my CA points. I had planned to try for the M5 tag and hunt with Josh.
One thing about this hunt is that you can’t use a scope. I take the Nikon BDC scope off my Thompson Center Encore and start the research process on what to shoot and how to get it shooting. I settle on the non-lead required Barnes T-EZ 50 caliber 250gr Expanders. My first shots at 50 yards group very close to point of aim. Three clicks up get me where I need to be at 100 yards. The weekend before my hunt I give it a thorough cleaning and go back to the 50-yard range to make sure it prints where it should at 50. My shot is perfect. Centered and 2″ high of my point of aim. I put it away and go home and clean it up again. I consider myself ready.
June came along and I get the good news. Josh managed to secure a nice 3 bedroom AirBnB in Alturas which would serve as home base for our hunt. They had an area picked out about 40 minutes south near Termo. I decided to go to Redding the night before and have a leisurely drive to Alturas by highway 299. The weather was great and the scenery beautiful. Being the first one to arrive I met with the owner Victoria. She gave me the walk though, the house is perfect. Nicely decorated, great wi-fi and some great plaques with passages from scripture throughout the place.
Josh is driving up from the south so we arrange to meet where we’ll scout the night before opening day. I arrive to find Josh along with Rick Jones and Austin Young who are helping with the hunt. They all have spotting scopes set up on the mountainside and have already located a great buck. They think he’s a 5×6 and he looks big. The foreground is private land that they had managed to secure permission to hunt previously. They decide to ask again. Elias is the ranch foreman and they know the owner lives out of state. Well, the owner happened to be at the ranch and was great, we had permission to hunt their land too which would make the whole proposition a lot easier. We decide to call the buck ‘Elias’.
Saturday morning we’re there at first light. Groups of bucks are leaving the alfalfa fields for the rocky hills. Josh and I stalk a group but as we get near we see there are no shooter bucks in the group. We regroup and glass the hills again. Later Josh and I do a longer hike but are not seeing much. At one point we do get close to a nice looking 4×4. We go back and forth about how big he is. Thinking he’s not that big, then thinking, he is a super buck. We get a lot of video of this buck and start to think of him as plan B. The hunt ends that evening with no further Elias sightings.
Sunday comes and it is bitter cold. Have all my gear on. Josh and I do another hike but again no big bucks. We spend a good deal of time up on the mountain. We can see a huge herd of antelope in the alfalfa fields. A coyote on the periphery. Yesterday the guys even saw a mountain lion. We spend the usual time looking for bucks and still no sign of Elias. As the evening approaches, we decide to drive a short road that leads to where we saw the good 4×4. Before we even turn up the road Josh spots a group of deer and sees antler tips he thinks are our buck’s. We wait watching for him to show himself. He’s with about five does and a smaller buck. Sure enough, it is him. We quickly come up with a plan to try and drive back and get in between them and the alfalfa fields they are slowly headed towards. Rick and Austin drive by the other side of them to try and watch what they’re doing. As the sun goes down at 6 pm they are slowly coming towards us. Finally, we decide to leave the truck and get to sagebrush we can hide behind as they approach. As we exit the truck it’s clear our scent is headed their way and sure enough, they alert and hold up. We’re behind the bush now and Josh has a tripod high enough for me to rest my fist and rifle on. It’s now 6:20 with only ten minutes left to shoot and we’re losing light. Finally, Josh sees him broadside to the left of a pine tree. It takes me a long time to make him out but I put the gun on my fist and try to ease my front sight bead into his body. I’m there and slowly squeezing and boom, I take the shot. After the smoke clears Josh says he’s hit. I drop 3 pellets in and drive another bullet home, then recap my rifle and we move slowly after him. We flush him and I snap shoot but miss him. I reload yet again and we eventually come up to him, he’s hurt and not moving from us. I shoot him again and he only moves a few yards and is now down for good. This was a crazy few minutes. Josh was so key to us closing the deal. Making the plan, guiding me to see the buck at 110 yards in low light, and then following up cautiously to finish him. I would not want to have left him overnight with the coyotes and lion. I pick up his antlers and am so pleased, he’s a great typical, symmetrical 4×4 with eye guards and good mass. He’s a great California Mule Deer. We exchange congratulations and the team arrives soon after for pictures and securing the meat. The guys score him later that night at 174.
This was an amazing adventure and such a great use of my 16 years of California preference points.
Pulled my trail cam card after a long interval and was pleased to see many great pics! Captured a Bobcat which I have not seen in a long time. Also a fox, a great 3×4 buck in velvet and later hard horned, doe nursing fawns, and a great shot of a doe in the air cresting the top of the trail from the creek.
So my annual hunt at Diamond C proceeded with great anticipation. I was to hunt a cool non-typical buck named Rojo. By the time August arrived, we changed plans and decided to sit a blind with a very large, Boone & Crockett class buck they were calling the ‘cracked pond buck’ probably from where they first sighted him.
After sitting for him three days and no sign of him we were out patrolling and caught sight of a mature 3×3 with two other smaller bucks. He looked great to me and I have actually only taken on straight 3×3, a hard horned buck Scarface Jr. This one is in full velvet and looked great. We proceeded to stalk the group and cresting a grassy hill they were only 150 yards. I had my Remington 700 custom .270 rifle, put the VXR red dot on the crease and shot. The buck did not go very far although out of our sight. When we came on him we saw how lucky we were as he’d slide down the top of a steep hill towards a creek under a fallen log and his rack stopped right at the top. This made for a fairly easy recovery.
Every hunt at Diamond C is a new adventure and many times it doesn’t work out as anticipated. Many times it does. It’s always a great time and I treasure my relationship with the wonderful Carr family and all the great times I have had hunting the Diamond C.
Pulled the Trail cam card in hope of some velvet bucks. Going through lots of does, fawns, and turkeys but caught this cat again. Looks like the same one from January. This time coming up the deer trail from the creek on the 15th and then heading back down a couple of days later.
I decided to check my trail cam after a
The trail cam is at a natural blacktail deer sanctuary spot on my home property in La Honda, CA. There is a deer trail leading up from the creek to a little landing where many
Clearly this was a lion but was so disappointing to have his face off camera. Now two years later here is the sequence from January 2019. Was a little concerning to see since he’s headed right up to where my wife Kari has the suburban and she often takes the cover off late at night before trailering her horse the next day.
August 1st is the start of my annual blacktail deer hunt up in Humboldt County at Diamond C Outfitters. Have been talking to Dylan for the past few weeks and we’ve identified an old buck we’ve seen over the years we call ‘Tank’. He has been pretty active in a clearing in a more thickly wooded part of the ranch and Dylan set a blind up a couple weeks before.
I get there uneventfully on a Wednesday and am fortunate it is not the usual August heat. I’m in the blind at 5 pm with a lot of daylight left. I have my comfy chair and am settled in for what I know might be a few days of waiting until I see a good deer and maybe longer to get an opportunity for a good shot.
I’m not in the blind more than thirty minutes when Tank himself appears at the edge of the clearing. I can’t believe it. I have my bow on my knees with an arrow knocked and watch as he seems to poke around but not enter the field. He’s at thirty-five yards. He never offers me a good shot and leaves as quietly as he appeared. I’m still excited to have seen him and know he’s not spooked. Am confident in time I’ll get a shot at.
Within the hour does and fawns appear, a dozen turkeys slowly work their way across the field. A big hare at one point is with the turkeys. Another doe and fawn even bed down not fifteen yards from me. As the evening comes I start to see some young bucks, two different fork horns, and a couple young 3x3s also come through.
At about 8:45 dusk has come and I have another 10 minutes of shooting time left. Then incredibly Tank appears again at the edge of the field. This time he enters the field and is browsing but facing me head on. He seems to move and then stop not presenting a shot. Then two younger bucks appear off to the left and I get ready thinking this may get him to move. I have my bow in my hand when he stops perfectly broadside and am drawing almost as he stops. I’m holding on him steady at only twenty yards, my green pin just behind his shoulder as I release. I hear the smack and the see the green lit knock glide and land on the hill behind. He bolts and traces a semicircle that has his off side right in front of the blind window and I see it round with red.
I text Dylan to tell him I made the shot and think it’s good. I give him the details and wait. Dylan and Clayton drive up about 30 minutes later. When they get to the blind they tell me they passed him lying dead in the creek maybe forty yards from the shot. Am so happy to have made a good shot on such a beautiful buck and for the immediate recovery, not having to sleep wondering if all went well. The shot was perfect, complete pass through the heart. Was my first try with Rage Trypan, they did the job and flew accurately.
So thankful for having met the Carr’s thirteen years before on a management hunt and now having such a great relationship with them and probably the best hunting opportunities in our state.
So excited to learn my California Desert Bighorn Ram picture was included in this year’s California Big Game Digest. Thanks to the Dry Creek Team to have me take a picture ‘with the CA tag on’ to send in. And later I was surprised to see me again in the California section of the May Huntin Fool magazine. Was so happy to see them both!
I recently picked up a used Kahr P380 at my local gun shop. I had ended up with a credit after selling a hunting rifle and decided to give it a try. Have heard great things about them, quality components, match barrel, and excellent useable sights.
Went to Reed’s Indoor Shooting Range in San Jose. My favorite indoor range. I bought some cheap hardball ammo for some initial testing and then three boxes of self-defense ammo for accuracy and function testing. I shot ten rounds of each of the self-defense ammo at a close range of 21 ft or 7 yards.
- ARX Inceptor 56 gr / 1260 fps / 197 ft lbs
- Hornady Critical Defense 90 gr / 1000 fps / 200 ft lbs
- Remington Ultimate Defense 102 gr / 815 fps / 150 ft lbs
I started off with the ARX Inceptor which is a new type of bullet. They are a solid injection molded of blended polymer-copper not intended for expansion but rather provide displacement based on the fluting and high velocity. The ARX started off quite well with my first three shots in the X ring. There were no malfunctions. Recoil was quite manageable. Result: 3-9s and 7-10s with 4-x.
Hornady Critical Defense
The Remington Ultimate Defense rounds were a little harder to control than the ARX. They also functioned flawlessly. I seemed to shoot left with them, not sure if it’s me Accuracy was 3-9s and 7-10s with only 1-x. I would feel comfortable using this for self-defense.
Remington Ultimate Defense
The Remington Ultimate Defense was the only brand that had any malfunctions with a single stove pipe. The accuracy was also a little worse than the Hornady with a final result of 1-8, 2-9, 7-10 with 1-x.
I enjoy shooting the little P380, it is surprisingly easy to shoot and pretty accurate. I think I would go with the ARX load. It offers controllable shooting and some impressive results if you watch the tests on their web site.